What You Need To Know Before Flying With A Cake

It could be a birthday, a wedding, or just a deep love for dessert — but every once and a while you may be faced with the perplexing predicament of how to safely travel with a cake. Driving with a cake is feasible, and even carrying one on a train might not be too big of a lift. But can you fly with a cake? 

You may think that once you get into the realm of layers and piped frosting, air travel is off-limits. The good news is that it is completely possible to fly with a cake — as long as it is not a cheesecake. To be successful, you need to focus on two central things: getting through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and properly stowing it on the airplane. To get through both of these phases, you're going to have to consider the dimensions of your cake and the appropriate transportation vessel for it.

Getting your cake through TSA

Let's assume that you have opted not to freeze your cake and check it in a suitcase. Instead, you are hoping to get a fresh cake to your destination without it getting damaged. TSA is totally fine with you bringing a cake through the line, but there are a few restrictions to keep in mind. Remember that anything you are bringing with you should be able to fit through the TSA security scanner, which is about 12-15 inches tall. That rules out any gigantic layer cakes off the bat unless you are packaging them separately.

Of course, you'll need to pack your cake in a sturdy, structured box with solid sides to keep it from getting crushed. Just remember that the box has to fit within the correct size dimensions, which can be tough if the cake box has a domed top. If you use or make a cardboard box, using duct tape to seal the box is a good idea. But remember, TSA will probably want to see inside, so bring extra tape in case you have to reseal it. Lastly, if you are bringing frosting that you are going to apply at your destination, any liquids or creams that you bring need to be in 3.4-ounce containers — any bigger, and they will be taken from you.

Bringing cake on the airplane

Most airlines will allow you to bring a cake box onto your flight as a "personal item." And if you're unfamiliar with flying, this is considered separate from your carry-on bag. Still, it's a good idea to check with your airlines for their specific guidelines before planning your travels.

But just getting it onto the plane is only step one. Once you are in your seat, you need to decide where to put it. The overhead bins are a recipe for disaster for a fresh cake — the tilting, sliding, and scrunching will leave you with a pile of crumbs by the end of your flight. 

While you may be tempted to simply keep the cake in your lap, remember that you have to stow everything during take-off and landing — so this will leave you putting it underneath the seat in front of you with careful handling. So while bringing a cake on a flight isn't necessarily easy, it is 100% achievable with these steps in mind.